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6435 clicks; posted to Main » on 09 Jan 2013 at 12:05 AM (4 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:    more»

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Imperial measurements are to make a return to the classroom amid fears that children are failing to learn about pints, pounds and miles, it has emerged.

The obvious solution would be to stop using imperial measurements altogether.

Altogether: The obvious solution would be to stop using imperial measurements.

I still use pints, miles, ounces (occasionally), but there really isn't any need. The only country that uses imperial measurements is America, and even then they're different from the U.K. (or some are, like pints).

Ilmarinen: Tatterdemalian: Everybody knows why the Imperial system works better outside the research lab.

Not everybody. Please explain for those who don't.

If a cook needs a cup of beans for the soup, he can 'cup' his hands, and scoop them up. If someone walking down a road needs to measure a mile, the can take 1000 paces. A yard? Tip of nose to end of fingers. Etc.

Not to mention that Imperial measures are often halves of other measures. Gallon. Half-gallon. Quart (half-half gallon). Pint (half-quart). Cup (half pint). Halves are very easy to measure by eye, or with a simple balance. Try measuring out 1/10 of a given distance, versus half of it.

Yes, Metric is useful... in the laboratory. But Imperial measures are better in the real world.

Ilmarinen: Tatterdemalian: Everybody knows why the Imperial system works better outside the research lab.

Not everybody. Please explain for those who don't.

Human neurology. Without the use of measuring tools, the vast majority of the human race can easily divide measurements by halves just by guessing. Better, with the application of a simple trick of integer mathematics, dividing by thirds is also as easy, but much more difficult if you don't know the trick to it. This allowed some people to do things their neighbors can't, particularly in the area of architecture and masonry, and thus charge extra money for their services that they wouldn't be able to otherwise. This in turn allowed class differences to exist, without becoming unique to any one small group, creating a "middle class" as a necessary first step toward developing a functional economic system.

The SI system is good for counting without measuring tools, as the decimal system is based on the number of conveniently available digits on our hands, but not so great for the equally important task of dividing portions of a larger whole, as dividing by halves quickly requires increasing numbers of non-intuitive digits, dividing by thirds always results in repeating decimals, and there's really very few people that are capable of dividing by fifths accurately without using measuring tools.

/in the real world you don't always have a perfectly calibrated caliper to take measurements with
//and outside strictly controlled laboratories, excessive measuring results in products that are overly sensitive to decay, let alone accidental damage

Fano: Abacus9: phalamir: Fano: tb tibbles: harrydorcas: I am missing something. What is so devilish about taking measurements and using tools to do so?

The metric system arose out of the French revolution,not a good time for French Christians...so it carries with some the baggage of that era.

It's a shame we don't use metric units for time also.

If it wasn't for the length of a year, it wouldn't be hard. There is nothing that requires a 24/60/60 sequence. You could remeasure the 24 hour day as 10 hours, 100 minutes to the hour, 100 seconds to the minute; then 10 days to the week, and 10 weeks to the month. They are all arbitrary measures. But when you got to years it would run straight into a wall (not that the current system doesn't also, but the year happens to be where this particular sequence goes off the rails). Hell, if we ever do establish non-terrestrial colonies, such a system would be infinitely better than the kludge we currently have.

True, but the month throws things off as well. It gets complicated when you try to have a calendar that's both solar and lunar.

My point is given merit; metric time is difficult and hard to implement. You know, because it isn't how we experience time on this planet.

Meh.

Tatterdemalian: Everybody knows why the Imperial system works better outside the research lab.

/problem is, the FARK libs think the entire natural world should be a clean, sterile, perfectly organized research lab
//then throws amazing temper tantrums whenever anyone notices that it isn't

The Imperial system has not one single advantage over metric, other than your inability/unwillingness to learn it.

FormlessOne: Now, if we could just officially adopt the metric system here in the U.S. and get away from avoirdupois, I'd be happy. We're the only friggin' modern country on the planet that hasn't adopted it yet.

We tried.

I was taught in the 4th & 5th grades ( late 1970's) that we'd better learn metric because the US Government was going to "phase out" the old English system of measurements.

Obviously, that didn't go very far...

/ maybe the election in 1980 had something to do with that..
// almost every technical job I've had uses only SI units...

dj_blueshift: "Ministers said that a new curriculum 'goes further' than previous documents"

lol'd a bit

It's nice to see that England has their own political knuckle-draggers - "sure, the metric system is in use almost everywhere on the planet, but we fear change - make the kids learn the old system, too, damn it!"

Now, if we could just officially adopt the metric system here in the U.S. and get away from avoirdupois, I'd be happy. We're the only friggin' modern country on the planet that hasn't adopted it yet.

We're the Alabama of the measurement world.
 1 vote:
In the 70s, I completely remember the Childrens Weekly Reader saying everybody in the U.S. would soon be measuring body weight without using pounds, filling up cars without using gallons, or measuring height without feet or inches. I'm still trying to figure out what period of time they imagined "soon" really meant.
 1 vote:

gweilo8888: You know, I think they may have made your bike using centimeters when the directions said inches... ;-)

Those mini-bikes are hilarious to ride. It's basically a more dangerous lawnmower. Sometimes I knock neighborhood kids over the head and steal theirs, which is where the pic comes from...
 1 vote:

gweilo8888: punkwrestler: This.
I'll be driving in the UK in Feb. Anyone have any tips for this American?

Yes. Don't do it.

Seriously, Americans can barely drive on their own roads, let alone on unfamiliar roads, the wrong side of the road, with signposting that makes sense, with less than one acre between lanes, and with roundabouts.

But if you do try it, film it. And put it on YouTube. It'll be good. :-)

They put a new roundabout in just outside where I live. It has tons of signage warning people about it, and telling them how to use it. Its so very fun to watch people atempt to use a roundabout without knowing anyhting about it though; and once everyone got used to it, it was miles better then the stop sign that was there.

csb
 1 vote:

punkwrestler: This.
I'll be driving in the UK in Feb. Anyone have any tips for this American?

Yes. Don't do it.

Seriously, Americans can barely drive on their own roads, let alone on unfamiliar roads, the wrong side of the road, with signposting that makes sense, with less than one acre between lanes, and with roundabouts.

But if you do try it, film it. And put it on YouTube. It'll be good. :-)
 1 vote:

dickfreckle: My motorcycle (British) has the option to switch the digital speedo from mph to kph. Once, on accident, I left it on kilometers and I was terrified of getting a ticket and thought everyone else was just hauling more ass than I was. I mean, I knew something wasn't right (speed didn't match transmission), but it actually took me a while to figure it out. You know, because I'm an idiot.

*looks at profile pic*

You know, I think they may have made your bike using centimeters when the directions said inches... ;-)
 1 vote:
My motorcycle (British) has the option to switch the digital speedo from mph to kph. Once, on accident, I left it on kilometers and I was terrified of getting a ticket and thought everyone else was just hauling more ass than I was. I mean, I knew something wasn't right (speed didn't match transmission), but it actually took me a while to figure it out. You know, because I'm an idiot.
 1 vote:

Ilmarinen: gweilo8888: Familiarity. That is literally the *only* reason. If you were brought up on metric, you'd prefer metric. If you weren't, you wouldn't. People don't like recalibrating themselves.

But surely everybody would agree that adding zeros is easier than multiplying by 5,280?

Yes, but it's not about math. Or maths, if you prefer. ;-) It's about visualization. Most people, in their daily lives, don't do a lot of multiplying, dividing, hell... a simple addition or subtraction is probably a stretch.

The only thing most people do in their daily lives with units, be they metric or imperial, is look at thing and estimate them, or occasionally measure them. They might guess how many feet it is from their car's fender (or bumper, if you prefer) to the garage wall. They might look at the trunk (or boot, if you prefer) and the box they're considering buying, and estimate them both in inches. They might even go hunt down the tape measure, and measure them both.

They might weigh themselves, and they'll want the measurement in what they're familiar with -- which is probably pounds (or stone, if you prefer. God, I hate stone -- and I'm a farking Brit by birth. But I digress.) Or maybe they'll guess how much an ounce is for a recipe. They might even make some Kool-Aid (or squash, if you prefer) and guess how much a liter is. But that's because we're funny about liters. The good folks at Coke persuaded us to understand those, somehow.

But by and large, units are about familiarity and recognition. If you were brought up with a system, you adore it and hate the other one. If you were brought up with the other one, the first one's evil instead. There's no middle ground, because it doesn't revolve around math (or maths) for most people. It revolves around simply being to visually estimate the units so you don't have to measure them properly, and do so at least vaguely accurately. And perhaps, around being able to visualize those units better in your head.

And then there's the folks like me, who were brought up on both systems, and ended up not being entirely confident visualizing either. I use both interchangeably, and I hate both. I love metric for its common-sense nature, but I can't estimate it as well. I hate imperial for its total lack of logic and neatness, but I find it slightly easier to estimate. But I despise both equally. And that's why I think this plan is a bad idea.
 1 vote:

nmemkha: Ilmarinen: Tatterdemalian: Everybody knows why the Imperial system works better outside the research lab.

Not everybody. Please explain for those who don't.

What is 1/3 of a foot? 4 inches

Now, what is 1/3 of a meter? 3.3333... centimeters

what is one 10th of a foot?
 1 vote:

nmemkha: What is 1/3 of a foot? 4 inches

Now, what is 1/3 of a meter? 3.3333... centimeters

Of course, using base 12 in everything (including counting) would be better than base 10. But changing that would be going through an incredible lot of trouble. Next best thing, let's just use the same base everywhere.

1/3 of a foot or a meter are both easy to determine if your measuring device is accurate enough.
 1 vote:

Ilmarinen: Tatterdemalian: Everybody knows why the Imperial system works better outside the research lab.

Not everybody. Please explain for those who don't.

I could be wrong, but you can use your body for approximations for imperial measurements. A man's foot is, well, roughly a foot. A single pace is roughly a yard (hence refs in football (soccer) pace the distance the wall has to be from a free kick). Isn't there a releationship between your thumb and an inch (width, or length from tip to first knuckle or something)?
 1 vote:

Ilmarinen: Tatterdemalian: Everybody knows why the Imperial system works better outside the research lab.

Not everybody. Please explain for those who don't.

Familiarity. That is literally the *only* reason. If you were brought up on metric, you'd prefer metric. If you weren't, you wouldn't. People don't like recalibrating themselves.
 1 vote:
Pert
Just saw your comment. Makes sense, but I've just spent two years living in Spain, the car I had there (Opal Zafira, also available in Blighty) only had Km/h on the speedo. Must be gnarly for Spanish, French etc who bring their cars over to England!
 1 vote:

Fano: Abacus9: phalamir: Fano: tb tibbles: harrydorcas: I am missing something. What is so devilish about taking measurements and using tools to do so?

The metric system arose out of the French revolution,not a good time for French Christians...so it carries with some the baggage of that era.

It's a shame we don't use metric units for time also.

If it wasn't for the length of a year, it wouldn't be hard. There is nothing that requires a 24/60/60 sequence. You could remeasure the 24 hour day as 10 hours, 100 minutes to the hour, 100 seconds to the minute; then 10 days to the week, and 10 weeks to the month. They are all arbitrary measures. But when you got to years it would run straight into a wall (not that the current system doesn't also, but the year happens to be where this particular sequence goes off the rails). Hell, if we ever do establish non-terrestrial colonies, such a system would be infinitely better than the kludge we currently have.

True, but the month throws things off as well. It gets complicated when you try to have a calendar that's both solar and lunar.

My point is given merit; metric time is difficult and hard to implement. You know, because it isn't how we experience time on this planet.

how we "experience" time is really irrilivent to how we mesure it though.

how many aztec baktun's have you been through lately? the experience of time is largely dicated by the society you live in. a second is nothing more then an arbitray way to mesure part of a day night cycle on a planet that hasent even had a 24 hour day for its entire existance.
 1 vote:

Abacus9: phalamir: Fano: tb tibbles: harrydorcas: I am missing something. What is so devilish about taking measurements and using tools to do so?

The metric system arose out of the French revolution,not a good time for French Christians...so it carries with some the baggage of that era.

It's a shame we don't use metric units for time also.

If it wasn't for the length of a year, it wouldn't be hard. There is nothing that requires a 24/60/60 sequence. You could remeasure the 24 hour day as 10 hours, 100 minutes to the hour, 100 seconds to the minute; then 10 days to the week, and 10 weeks to the month. They are all arbitrary measures. But when you got to years it would run straight into a wall (not that the current system doesn't also, but the year happens to be where this particular sequence goes off the rails). Hell, if we ever do establish non-terrestrial colonies, such a system would be infinitely better than the kludge we currently have.

True, but the month throws things off as well. It gets complicated when you try to have a calendar that's both solar and lunar.

My point is given merit; metric time is difficult and hard to implement. You know, because it isn't how we experience time on this planet.
 1 vote:

aerojockey: Forbidden Doughnut: the US Government was going to "phase out" the old English system of measurements.

The US laissez-faire culture and even the first Amendment make it kind of diffcult for the government to phase out Imperial units.  One major reason the rest of the world has adopted metric is their governments were able to force them.  (Another major reason was that they didn't want to be like Americans.)

Forbidden Doughnut: // almost every technical job I've had uses only SI units...

My tech job uses mostly Imperial.  Then, because integrated disciplines are all the rage now, we've come up against other people who used only metric.  They actually thought we were joking when we wrote an interface document in Fahrenheit.

My job works in diopters, so everything is metric. However, in daily experience, I will say that Fahrenheit approximates temperature in a way to me that never rings true in Celsius. I prefer kelvin to it, if I have to feel temperature in a clinical way.
 1 vote:

Forbidden Doughnut: the US Government was going to "phase out" the old English system of measurements.

The US laissez-faire culture and even the first Amendment make it kind of diffcult for the government to phase out Imperial units.  One major reason the rest of the world has adopted metric is their governments were able to force them.  (Another major reason was that they didn't want to be like Americans.)

Forbidden Doughnut: // almost every technical job I've had uses only SI units...

My tech job uses mostly Imperial.  Then, because integrated disciplines are all the rage now, we've come up against other people who used only metric.  They actually thought we were joking when we wrote an interface document in Fahrenheit.
 1 vote:

Swiss Colony: I agree, but I think the argument is that it's too costly. All relevant road signs would have to be replaced. Do all cars have dual MPH/kph speedos?

In the UK, yes they do. EU law.
 1 vote:
Everybody knows why the Imperial system works better outside the research lab.

/problem is, the FARK libs think the entire natural world should be a clean, sterile, perfectly organized research lab
//then throws amazing temper tantrums whenever anyone notices that it isn't
 1 vote:

Fano: tb tibbles: harrydorcas: I am missing something. What is so devilish about taking measurements and using tools to do so?

The metric system arose out of the French revolution,not a good time for French Christians...so it carries with some the baggage of that era.

It's a shame we don't use metric units for time also.

If it wasn't for the length of a year, it wouldn't be hard. There is nothing that requires a 24/60/60 sequence. You could remeasure the 24 hour day as 10 hours, 100 minutes to the hour, 100 seconds to the minute; then 10 days to the week, and 10 weeks to the month. They are all arbitrary measures. But when you got to years it would run straight into a wall (not that the current system doesn't also, but the year happens to be where this particular sequence goes off the rails). Hell, if we ever do establish non-terrestrial colonies, such a system would be infinitely better than the kludge we currently have.
 1 vote:

The Irresponsible Captain: /It's trouble getting it inspected. No one can read the speedometer.

I know a fellow who took his Stanley Steamer down to the emissions inspection station just to mess with their heads.
 1 vote:

tb tibbles: harrydorcas: I am missing something. What is so devilish about taking measurements and using tools to do so?

The metric system arose out of the French revolution,not a good time for French Christians...so it carries with some the baggage of that era.

It's a shame we don't use metric units for time also.
 1 vote:

DeadGeek: The Irresponsible Captain: My automobile gets 53 leagues to the firkin, and that's how I like it. (That's 420 leagues per hogshead if you insist.) At least it does at a steady 20 leagues per hour on the paved cart path.

/It's trouble getting it inspected. No one can read the speedometer.

You get 9.3 MPG?

/actually enjoying looking up these historical units of measurement and finding out about their origins.

Depends on your firkin and hogshead. I use Wolfram Alpha.
 1 vote:

harrydorcas: I am missing something. What is so devilish about taking measurements and using tools to do so?

The metric system arose out of the French revolution,not a good time for French Christians...so it carries with some the baggage of that era.
 1 vote:

The Irresponsible Captain: My automobile gets 53 leagues to the firkin, and that's how I like it. (That's 420 leagues per hogshead if you insist.) At least it does at a steady 20 leagues per hour on the paved cart path.

/It's trouble getting it inspected. No one can read the speedometer.

You get 9.3 MPG?

/actually enjoying looking up these historical units of measurement and finding out about their origins.
 1 vote:
Actually we measure height in meters. We seriously need to ditch imperial. I buy diesel in liters but my car tells me how many MPG I get.
 1 vote:
Sounds good to me.  Teach the students how many feet are in a mile etc etc and they'll soon get really good at metric.
 1 vote:
How many stone do these hogsheads weigh.
 1 vote:
They would probably express it as hogsheads per 100 rods
 1 vote:
Great.  I'm sure it will do wonders for their space program.

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